Q: Was Angelina your first choice for the role of Maleficent or did you write this with her in mind?
RS: She was actually already attached when, when Disney hired me. Uh, they were looking for a director, but she had wanted to do this character for a long time. So, lucky for me, I didn’t have to do much, um, digging on that part. It was sort of this perfectly made iconic combination that I was blessed to have.
Q: So this being your first directorial debut, what was different from being on set compared to being in the art department?
RS: I’ve always thought that, uh, ’cause I’ve always wanted to be a director. You know, I used to make movies when I was a little kid and I was a huge Disney fan. I had an art teacher who was an ex-Disney artist. I used to draw like crazy, images, including Maleficent when I was five, six years old. So I had always wanted to tell stories and be a director.
RS: I got sidetracked iby this pesky art direction stuff, but it was part of the journey. I’m glad that I did all that stuff because it prepared me not only being around these big movies but also meeting a lot of great directors. I metPeter Weir and we became close friends on a movie called Master and Commander. He taught me a lot about how to talk to actors and to get at an emotional level with them.
Then I spent four years with Jim Cameron and that was useful in, you know, in how to be strong when you need to be. I worked with Tim Burton and how an artist can direct. So there are all directors but they do it in different ways. So I came into this with a lot of, um, experience and not only that, you have to come in as emotion(al) yourself.
Q: What was your favorite scene to direct?
RS: I think there are many different special moments. I suppose the, the christening scene ’cause it was in the film, we’re doing a retelling. So we’re not just doing a straight out of the box remake of that classic version. It was very intentional that when you watch the movie you’ve learned a whole bunch of new material. When you get to that center point of the movie we shot that scene almost verbatim, word for word, from the classic cartoon version.
RS: That was so that you now had all this new, fun information that you had learned and you understand why that character is doing what she’s doing and then you get to see what happens after that. It wasn’t challenging but,for me personally as a, as a film, Hollywood moment, just standing there with several hundred extras in this huge set, and she came into the room in that costume and I was a big fan myself at that moment just in awe.
Q: What was the creative process that you used creating the Moors and all the characters?
RS: You know, over the years I probably have a file full of just sketches and strange creatures and stuff that you wanna use one day. I always approach a movie using the world itself as a psychological steering device. So, in other words, just for instance, at the beginning of this film we start off and it’s sort of happy and sunny and everything else.Then the mood of the whole world goes dark with Maleficent and then comes back up again at the end. So I think it’s really interesting, not just as a designer but to create fun things. There’s no rule book there. That’s what’s fun about it is you just do a sketch and oh, this is cool, and you know, three months later it becomes something real.
Bottom line, Robert is a Director with a bright future ahead of him and will definitely be showing off his vision and skills in more movies to come.
Be sure to check back for more #MaleficentEvent coverage including more interviews with the cast, review of the movie, and more! Make sure YOU go see Maleficent with the family when it hits theaters May 30th
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***Disclosure: I attended #MaleficentEvent My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***